Passage Point housing project to move forward
January 19, 2010
By Chantelle Lusebrink
King County and Cedar Hills Rural Preservation Alliance officials have reached an agreement that will allow the YWCA’s Passage Point project to move forward.The agreement was reached outside the court system and brokered Dec. 29. Details were not released until Jan. 13.
The agreement allows for the remodel of the former Cedar Hills Alcohol Treatment Facility, in the south end of the Issaquah School District, to 46 one- and two-bedroom apartments, to be occupied by men and women recently released from incarceration or hospitalization.
The facility will feature housing, employment and counseling services for men and women who wish to reunite with and act as caregivers to their children.
The new agreement does not allow YWCA officials to add new buildings to the site, nullifying plans to build up to 70 units. It also places new conditions, security measures and communication mandates regarding neighboring communities.
“The YWCA is very pleased to be able to pursue this unique project at a location that can provide a high level of supportive services to parents and children,” Linda Rasmussen, associate director of YWCA Homeless Initiatives, wrote in an e-mail.
County officials passed nonconforming use permits in October 2007 to reopen the treatment facility, which closed in 2002.
Members of the alliance filed a lawsuit against the county in Snohomish Superior Court in November 2007 for violating land-use codes and granting construction permits to the YWCA.
The alliance is made up of individual property owners in the Four Lakes, Cedar Hills and Cedar Mountain neighborhoods, communities that border the site.
A Snohomish County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the alliance in April. County officials were in the process of appealing the ruling when officials from both entities began meeting to come to an agreement.
The “decision to settle our lawsuit against the YWCA and King County does not reflect any dilution of CHRPA’s enduring conviction that Passage Point’s proposed use of the former Cedar Hills Alcohol Treatment Center (CHAT) does not constitute a legal continuation of the special permit that allowed the CHAT facility to operate until 2001,” alliance officials said in a press release. “Instead, it is a practical and realistic response to an adversary, King County, who having already invested more than $2 million in the Passage Point project, wields both the will and the means to advance the Passage Point agenda — if not now, then soon — regardless of the outcome,” of the lawsuit.
Alliance officials provided these details about the settlement:
-Demolition of the southernmost building, known as building H.
-Restrictions to the population: no persons convicted of a serious violent offense, a sex offense or arson.
-Prohibitions against the site being used for sentencing or incarceration.
-Fencing around and a gated entry to the campus.
-Background checks/screening and pre-authorization for all visitors.
-Ongoing security training for all staff and volunteers.
-Installation and use of security cameras and an alarm system.
-Coordination with the Issaquah School District to minimize and mitigate the impacts of the school-aged population of Passage Point.
-Reimbursement of the alliance’s attorney fees and costs.
-Annual reporting by the YWCA, including composition of the population, operating expenses and financial statements, provided to the alliance.
On the Web
-Cedar Hills Rural Preservation Alliance: www.passagepoint.info/home
Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.